Wednesday, March 14, 2012

PLANETARY TREMORS: Global Seismic Disturbance - Live Internet Seismic Server is ALL BLACK!

According to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), three 6.0 or over magnitude earthquakes occurred today. Two in Japan, a 6.8 and a 6.1 off the east coast of Honshu. The other, a 6.4 in the New Britain Region of Papua New Guinea. Following the first shock of the Japan tremors, agitation of the Earth's crust increased, as evidentially detected and manifested in the shaking and vibration at the surface level of the planet. The escalation in global seismic disturbance, resulting from these underground movements along the worldwide faults are clearly evident when you examine the USGS's Live Internet Seismic Server (LISS).

Have a look at the following image:

See all of the images HERE.

The Live Internet Seismic Server (LISS) is a data transmission protocol developed at the USGS Albuquerque Seismological Laboratory. It was initially used both to acquire data from remote seismic stations as well as to distribute data to users. Today, the LISS is primarily used to distribute data. It allows for near-real-time data flow from seismic stations around the world.

FIRE IN THE SKY: Kansans Witness Early Morning Meteor - Whole Sky Lit Up Over The Great Plains!

A flash of light in the early morning sky over the Great Plains on Tuesday lit up social media and cyberspace as witnesses tried to figure out what they had seen.

 This image wasn't taken recently, it is for story illustration purposes only.
"It was like the whole sky lit up for just a second," Joe Kleinsasser said in an e-mail about what he saw as he drove from Hillsboro to work at Wichita State University at about 6:45 a.m. More than 50 people in five states - Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, Nebraska and Missouri - reported the flash to the Lunar Meteorite Hunters website on Tuesday: Bob Henry, program director at the Wichita State University Lake Afton Observatory, said the light appears to have been a meteor about the size of a baseball. "Something that size is going to be very, very bright and very, very noticeable," Henry said.

Based on a detailed description he was given, Henry said, the meteor was traveling north to south about 20 degrees to the north of the moon at about the same elevation as the moon. It had a greenish blue tint before it broke up. "They actually happen a lot more often than we realize," Henry said. "Half the time, it's light outside so we don't see them." The earth is hit by meteorites more than 100 times a day, he said. Only a few are noticed by humans, however, because of daylight, cloudy skies or they happen over the ocean or when people are asleep. Derek Pinkston captured video of the meteor on a surveillance video in Haysville and posted it on YouTube. "Thought it was pretty cool, but wish I would have captured the trail," he wrote on Twitter in response to a question. Henry said witnesses to the meteor should feel fortunate. "For a meteor to get noticed by humans takes unusually good luck," he said by e-mail. - Kansas.
WATCH: CC-TV capture of the light flashes from the meteor.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Indonesia Was Rocked by 17 Earthquakes Above Magnitude 5.0 During February!

Bureau of Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) Pekanbaru Meteorological Station at least 17 summarizes the earthquake above 5.0 on the Richter scale had rocked some parts of the country of Indonesia, during February 2012.

USGS Seismicity of Indonesia.
Weather monitoring agency data, on Wednesday, explaining that the first earthquake occurred on February 1, 2012 with the power of 5.9 on the Richter scale (SR), located at 3.84 South Latitude (LS) East longitude -102.30 (BT) with the epicenter was 30 kilometers in the North West, Bengkulu. The second earthquake occurred on February 2, 2012, with the power of 5.0 magnitude struck 38 kilometers (km) Northeast of East Sumba, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), precisely located in the 9.8 LS-120, BT 58. Furthermore the two earthquakes on the date of February 5, 2012, which first occurred at 7:05 pm, located 5.45 LS-133, SR 9 BT magnitude 5.5 centered at 105 km North-West Kepulaua Aru, Maluku, and located at 12:10 pm approximately 2.76 north latitude (LU) -126.31 BT, centered at 100 km Tenggaran Siautagulandang Biaro, North Sulawesi.

Same event on February 8, 2012, with the power located at SR 5.0 0.35 LS-119, BT 82 based on 48 km Southwest Donggala, Central Sulawesi. Ditanggal 9 months later and the same year, an earthquake measuring 5.0 magnitude struck the country again, to the point where it was in 3.09 LS-130, BT 77, also based in Central Sulawesi (Sulawesi). On the same date, at different times, the same magnitude earthquake also struck Central Sulawesi, located at 3.15 LS-130, BT 77. Then ditanggal February 10, 2012, West Papua's turn, precisely the area rocked Tambrauw earthquake with magnitude 5.9 power. On February 11, 2012 turn North Maluku, South Helmahera precisely the strength of an earthquake of 5.5 magnitude.

Furthermore, for eight earthquakes measuring 5.0 to 6.1 magnitude that struck most other areas of Indonesia, also occurred on February 12 (4 LS-132, 45 East, West Papua), February 16 (7.98 LS-107 , 48 BT, West Java), February 16 (8.15 LS-118, 21 BT, West Nusa Tenggara) and on the 20th of February (1.72 LU-99, BT 39, North Sumatra). So that at the date of February 22 (5.21 LS-133, 58 East, Southeast Maluku), February 22 (4.89 LU-94, BT 17, Banda Aceh), February 25 (1.64 LU-126, BT 52 , North Maluku) and on February 27, located at 3.4 LU-128, 29, centered on Morotai Island, North Maluku. "The incident earthquake measuring more than magnitude 5.0 in March 2012 it is predicted will also still continue to 'haunt' a number of country areas," said Slamet Riyadi, analyst BMKG Pekanbaru Meteorological Station. - Antara News.

SOLAR WATCH: Sunspot 1429 Unleashes Strong M7-Class Solar Flare - Incoming Coronal Mass Ejection! UPDATE: Volcano and Earthquake Watch - March 16th to 20th! UPDATE: Sunspot 1432 Produces Moderate M2.8 Solar Flare - Magnetopause Reversal on the Back Side of the Sun!

According to Space Weather, although sunspot 1429 is departing, it is still very active and creating strong solar flares.

STRONG FLARE, INCOMING CME: Departing sunspot AR1429 unleashed another strong flare on March 13th, an M7-class eruption that peaked around 1741 UT. Although the sunspot is no longer directly facing Earth, the blast will affect our planet. Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab say a CME is en route to Earth, and its impact on March 15th at 06:20 UT (+/- 7 hours) could trigger minor to moderate geomagnetic storms. Also, protons accelerated by the flare are swarming around Earth, causing an S2-class radiation storm. - Space Weather.

STRONG SOLAR FLARE DETECTED + CME / PROTONS RISING: Just when you think things are getting quiet, the Sun says not so fast. A strong solar flare reaching M7.9 was detected around Sunspot 1429. An R2 Radio Blackout resulted on the sunlit side of the Earth. A Type II Radio Emission with a velocity of 1366 km/s was detected. It also appears that high energy proton levels are beginning to rise. Because AR11429 is now located towards the northwest limb, the chances for Earth directed Coronal Mass Ejections are not as good as compared to last week. A bright and full-halo CME was generated, but looks to be mostly directed towards the west.  FLARE PRODUCER: An interesting fact. Of the top 20 Solar Flares recorded during Solar Cycle 24, a quarter of those (5) were produced by Sunspot 1429. (X5.4, X1.3, X1.1, M8.4 and M7.9.

ALERT: Type II Radio Emission
Begin Time: 2012 Mar 13 1715 UTC
Estimated Velocity: 1366 km/s
Description: Type II emissions occur in association with eruptions on the sun and typically indicate a coronal mass ejection is associated with a flare event.

SUMMARY: 10cm Radio Burst
Begin Time: 2012 Mar 13 1711 UTC
Maximum Time: 2012 Mar 13 1725 UTC
End Time: 2012 Mar 13 1805 UTC
Duration: 54 minutes
Peak Flux: 1400 sfu

- Solar Ham.
WATCH: Sunspot 1429 unleashes another strong solar flare.

UPDATE: Volcano and Earthquake Watch - March 16th to 20th.

Here is the volcano and earthquake watch for March 16th to 20th:
Targeting Coronal Hole (CH507) which covers a large region across the solar corona. After analysis I have isolated (3°S - 6°N Latitude) for a potential 8.0 Magnitude Earthquake. Areas that could be in line for this event are: Nicobar Islands- India Region, Northern Sumatra-Indonesia, Nias Region- Indonesia, Moro Gulf/Mindanao Philippines, Celebes Sea or the Molucca Sea. Time frame March 16-18. Targeting the southern extension of (CH507), and isolating the 36-41°S latitudes as the most likely area that could receive a 7.2 Magnitude Earthquake during this watch. Time frame March 17-19. Possible areas that could be affected are: North Island New Zealand, Bio-Bio Chile, Los Lagos Chile or the West Chile Rise. OLR Anomalies are this week are Carlsberg Ridge, Northern Sumatra, Nicobar Islands, Hawaii, Mid-Atlantic Ridge and the Philippines. Ionospheric anomalies continuing to show high readings (16Mhz) in the following areas: Antofagasta Chile, Samoa, Tonga, Northern Sumatra and the Banda Sea. - Solar Watcher.
WATCH: Volcano and Earthquake Watch for March 16th to 20th.

UPDATE: Sunspot 1432 Produces M2.8 Solar Flare - Magnetopause Reversal on the Sun!
1432 PRODUCES MODERATE FLARE: A moderate M2.8 Solar Flare peaked at 15:21 UTC and was centered NOT around Sunspot 1429, but around Sunspot 1432 located towards the middle of the visible solar disk. Somewhat of a slow moving CME plasma cloud is seen in the latest STEREO Behind COR images and may be partially headed this way.  - Solar Ham.
In addition to this, a puzzling development occurred on the opposite side of the sun, a Magnetopause Reversal. The event happened at about 16:00 UTC, when there was an elevation in the solar wind speed. I am not sure as to exactly what this means, but it seems to indicate some form of back pressure. It is quite possible that the sun is entering a turbulent region of space and/or being affected by an external force.

WATCH: M2.8 Solar Flare and Magnetopause Reversal.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Escalating Global Seismic Disturbance - Strong Magnitude 6.4 Earthquake Shakes Papua New Guinea's New Britain Region!

A strong 6.4-magnitude earthquake has struck off Papua New Guinea's remote New Britain region but there is no danger of a tsunami, seismologists say.

The US Geological Survey said the quake hit at 11.26pm (AEDT) yesterday at a depth of 50 kilometres about 221 kilometres southeast of Rabaul, New Britain.

The Hawaii-based Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there were no tsunami warnings or advisories in effect following the quake.

Quakes of such magnitude are common in the New Britain region of Papua New Guinea, which sits on the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire, a hotspot for seismic activity due to friction between tectonic plates. - News Australia.

PLANETARY TREMORS: "Earthquake Swarm" Rattles New Brunswick Village - Resident Says It Sounded Like "A Bunch Of Dynamite Going Off"!

Residents in a small southwestern New Brunswick community may continue to feel minor earthquakes for several more days or even weeks, according to a Natural Resources Canada seismologist.

McAdam has been hit with four small earthquakes since Saturday in what is known as an “earthquake swarm. Certainly we are seeing what we are calling an earthquake swarm,” said John Adams, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada. “It is a number of earthquakes all of similar and small size all happening in the McAdam area.” The first earthquake happened at 1:40 a.m. on March 10, which had a magnitude of 2.4. Three minutes later, an aftershock with a magnitude of 1.4 was recorded. Two more earthquakes were recorded on Tuesday within roughly 20 minutes of each other. The small quakes had magnitudes of 2.0 and 1.9 respectively.
Adams said these small earthquakes could happen for several more days or even weeks. “We are absolutely certain that they are earthquakes that are underground. They are unpredictable. Of course you don’t know when the next one is going to happen,” he said. Earthquake swarms often happen in Ontario and Canada’s North, Adams said, but do not pose risks. These minor quakes are still unsettling for many people who live in the area. Gloria Nason said her house hasn’t sustained any damage and the only noticeable effect was a picture falling from the wall. But she said the events are scary. “We had two very large bursts of something, they are just like great big bangs like an explosion, very eerie, very scary,” she said. She said it felt like “a bunch of dynamite going off.” - CBC.
WATCH: Earthquake swarm in New Brunswick village.

EXTRATERRESTRIAL & UFO MEMES: Leslie Kean Reports to Huffington Post on a Stunning UFO Sighting - Extraordinary UFO Caught on Tape Over Santiago Air Base in Chile!

Is this the case UFO skeptics have been dreading? Sightings of mysterious flying craft with capabilities unknown on Earth have confounded mankind throughout recorded history. Most have been convincingly explained away as unfamiliar aircraft, natural phenomena or illusions. But then there are the others, witnessed in our time by pilots and air traffic controllers, military leaders, scientists, law enforcement officers and other trained observers, sometimes with physical evidence, including corroboration on film and video.

"We don't know what they are," says Nick Pope, a former head of the official UFO office in Britain's Ministry of Defense. "But they do exist." As agreed by authorities around the world, these truly unexplainable unidentified flying objects appear solid, metallic and luminous, able to operate with speeds and maneuvers that defy the laws of physics. And, most chilling of all, they often behave as if under intelligent control. One such case has just come to light in Chile, and was presented by government officials for the first time at a press conference on March 13. It was a glorious, sunny morning on Nov. 5, 2010, when crowds gathered to celebrate the changing of the Air Force Command at El Bosque Air Base in Santiago. From different locations, spectators aimed video cameras and cell phones at groups of acrobatic and fighter jets performing an air show overhead. Nobody saw anything amiss. But afterward, an engineer from the adjacent Pillán aircraft factory noticed something bizarre while viewing his footage in slow motion. He turned it over to the government's well known Committee for the Study of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena, or CEFAA, for analysis. CEFAA was established in 1997, within the Department of Civil Aeronautics, the equivalent of our FAA. Its creation was sparked when aeronautic specialists and others reported multiple sightings of anomalous lights near Aeropuerto Chacalluta, an airport in Northern Chile, which were then reported in the press. Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez, formerly chief commander of the Air Force's 3rd Air Brigade (southern area) and an air attaché in London, was one of CEFAA's founders, and he currently directs the agency with a full-time staff of three.

"Our mission is to study cases of unidentified aerial phenomena for which there is adequate data, to determine any possible risk to air operations," says Bermúdez. "Since this is a worldwide phenomenon, it should be subjected to rigorous scientific analysis so we can come to viable conclusions." CEFAA officials were able to collect seven videos of the El Bosque UFO taken from different vantage points. Bermúdez commissioned scientists from many disciplines, aeronautical experts, and Air Force and Army Photogrametric technicians to subject the videos to intense scrutiny. They all came to the same conclusions. Each video included three different, mainly horizontal loops flown by the UFO within seconds of each other. The object made elliptical passes either near or around each of three sets of performing jets. It flew past the Halcones, F-5s and F-16s at speeds so fast it was not noticed by the pilots or anyone on the ground below. Images show it as a dome-shaped, flat-bottomed object with no visible means of propulsion. The rounded top reflects the sun and appears metallic; the bottom is darker and flat, emitting some form of energy which is visible in photo analysis. Infrared studies show the entire object is radiating heat, just like the jets.

This extraordinary machine was flying at velocities too high to be man-made. Scientists have estimated the speed, depending on the size of the object, to be at least 4000 - 6000 mph. Humans inside this object could not survive. And, somehow, it made no sonic boom, a noise similar to thunder which occurs whenever something exceeds the speed of sound (750 mph at sea level). The shock waves generated from an object at such high velocities would normally be enormous. But no known aircraft or drone could possibly fly this fast at such low altitudes anyway. Our fastest air-breathing jet, the SR-71, has a maximum speed of just over 2,000 mph, but that's at high altitudes. And, the strange object is clearly operating under intelligent control. It zooms towards each set of jets at about their height, circles around and zooms back out again. Pilots who were shown the trajectory of the object in the three flybys were amazed that this maneuver is characteristic of reconnaissance aircraft coming in for a quick look at others in the sky. Astronomer Luis Barrera from the Metropolitan University of Sciences in Chile, with an asteroid to his name, was one of eight highly skeptical scientists who analyzed the footage. He was able to rule out a meteoroid, pieces of meteors or comets, space junk, a bird or an airplane. "The object performed a risky flight maneuver in front of the Halcones from W-E-W, at low altitude and high speed," Barrera concluded. "It had intentional movements. It moved East with 25 degrees inclination, which is the same angle of spacecraft when entering the atmosphere." Alberto Vergara, an expert in digital imaging, reported that "when we examine the whole scene frame by frame, we have been able to realize that it has, apparently, moved at a speed far superior to any flying object of known manufacture." Has Chile found proof of an actual UFO? - Leslie Kean / Huffington Post.
WATCH: Extraordinary UFO over Chile.

DISASTER PRECURSOR: Weather Anomalies - Scientists Detect Unusual Seismic Signals From Midwest Tornadoes!

An Indiana University geophysical experiment detected unusual seismic signals associated with tornadoes that recently struck regions across the Midwest -- information that may have value for meteorologists studying the atmospheric activity that precedes tornado disasters.

The experiment by IU researchers involves deployment of more than 100 state-of-the-art digital seismographs in a broad swath of the U.S. midcontinent. One of the twisters that struck southeastern Missouri and southern Illinois on Feb. 29 passed through the seismic detection array. "In examining the seismograms, we recorded unusual seismic signals on three of our stations in southern Illinois," said Michael Hamburger, professor in the department of geological sciences at IU Bloomington and one of the researchers conducting the experiment.  "The seismograms show a strong, low-frequency pulse beginning around 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 29. Our preliminary interpretation, based on other seismic records of tornadoes, suggests that we were recording not the tornado itself, but a large atmospheric pressure transient related to the large thunderstorms that spawned the tornadoes." The seismographs that detected the pulse are near Harrisburg, Ill., a town of 9,000 where a pre-dawn twister caused extensive damage, killed six people and injured about 100 more.

IU researchers initially feared that some of the instruments might be damaged by the storm, setting back a National Science Foundation-funded project that included the investment of hundreds of thousands of dollars and months of effort. But when principal investigator Gary Pavlis, an IU professor of geological sciences, checked the digital recordings of the Illinois stations on Feb. 29, he found they were still alive and streaming data. As he checked further, he discovered the strange "tornado seismograms" that were recorded on seismographs near Harrisburg. Hamburger said a seismic pressure gradient associated with the tornado produced a slow, minute tilting of the seismograph that lasted for several minutes. He said this sort of pressure-related signal may help scientists better understand atmospheric activity that takes place right before tornadoes touch down. The IU researchers are working with colleagues at the University of California San Diego to try to compare recordings with other tornado-related signals and to dig deeper into the analysis. While seismographs have been known to detect seismic activity related to tornadoes, it is highly unusual to have state-of-the-art digital instruments recording information in such close proximity to a tornado, the researchers say
. - Science Daily.

MASS BIRD DIE-OFF: Bird Flu Outbreaks in Israel Kill 10,500 Turkeys!

Bird flu killed about 10,500 turkeys on two farms in western Israel, the first outbreaks of the deadly H5N1 strain in the country in 11 months, veterinary officials said.

The virus threatens 51,000 8-week and 12-week-old Turkeys on the farms in Hadarom, said Nadav Galon, Israel’s director of veterinary services and animal health, in a March 9 report to the World Organization for Animal Health in Paris. The outbreaks began on March 7 and were confirmed the following day. The source of the attack is being investigated, Galon said.

World health and veterinary officials have been monitoring H5N1 avian influenza outbreaks in birds for the past decade because of their potential to infect people. If the virus becomes easily transmissible among humans, it could touch off a deadly pandemic
. - Business Week.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Poas Volcano in Costa Rica on Slow Boil - High-Temperature Fumarolic Activity and Sporadic Small Phreatic Explosions!

During February, Poás volcanic activity consisted in strong high-temperature fumarolic activity and sporadic small phreatic explosions, reported by park rangers.

High-temperature fumaraoles from the comosite cone (the "dome") at the shore of Poás' crater lake. 
The latest monthly bulletin of Costa Rica's volcano observatory OBSICORI published a more detailed summary of Poás' activity during February summarized as follows: The ultra-acid crater lake had a greenish-gray color with sporadic convection cells visible in the central part carrying sulfur in suspension. Lake temperature were measured at 44° C, which is a value significantly lower than those measured during most of 2009-2011. The pH value of the lake water was measured at 0.01, slightly "less" acidic than during November 2011 (pH -0.4).  The lake volume continued to decrease and its level dropped by 1.16 m between 25 Jan and 24 Feb. Concentrations of sulphate and chlorine increased.

The composite pyroclastic cone (the "dome") has high-temperature fumarolic activity and a strong emissions of blue gas (SO2). Fumarolic activity in the northwest sector of the "dome" had temperatures between 685 and 725°C. In the northern part of the "dome", temperatures were ranging between 640 and 727°C (at accessible points). On the north wall and north of the "dome" at the shore, there are some underwater fumaroles which release a significant amount of sulfur particles. Temperatures in this area range between 74 and 90°C. - Volcano Discovery.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking the Nevado del Ruiz Volcano - Increased Volcanic Activity Monitored in Central Colombia!

Authorities in central Colombia are keeping a close eye on recent activity reported at Nevado del Ruiz volcano although an eruption is "not expected."

The crater of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia seen on March 8, 2012. The area is obviously warm and
INGEOMINAS scientists noticed ash in the crater area as well.
The Volcanological and Seismological Observatory of Manizales reported plumes of smoke and sulfur dioxide emissions last week. According to observatory director Gloria Patricia Cortes, the recent emissions were caused by previous eruptions and were not a major source of concern.

Residents adjacent to the Los Nevados National Park, located 80 miles west of Bogota, have raised concerns over their safety, but authorities are assuring the public that all necessary precautions are being taken. Nevado del Ruiz has been at yellow alert since 2010. If an eruption was imminent, the alert level would be increased to orange.
"Although we do not currently have a state of alert, emergency committees themselves should be aware of information that we provide about a change in volcanic activity. A yellow level of activity means that an eruption is not expected, but neither can it be ruled out," explained Cortes. Nevado del Ruiz last erupted in 1985, killing 25,000 people. - Colombia Reports.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Asia Climate Disasters Displace 42 Million!

Climate-related disasters have displaced more than 42 million people in Asia over the past two years, the Asian Development Bank said Tuesday in a report calling for swift action to avert future crises.

"Asia and the Pacific is the global area most prone to natural disasters, both in terms of the absolute number of disasters and of populations affected," said the report launched in Bangkok, which was itself affected by flooding last year. About 31.8 million people in the region were displaced by climate-related disasters and extreme weather in 2010 -- a particularly bad year -- including more than 10 million in Pakistan owing to massive flooding. A further 10.7 million were forced to flee their homes last year, it said, warning that such events will become more frequent with climate change. "While many of those displaced returned to their homes as conditions improved, others were less fortunate, struggling to build new lives elsewhere after incurring substantial personal losses," ADB vice president Bindu Lohani said in a foreword to the report, released at an Asian climate forum. The bank says Asia has six of the 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change, with Bangladesh and India in the top two places on a list that also includes Nepal, the Philippines, Afghanistan and Myanmar.

"The environment is becoming a significant driver of migration in Asia and the Pacific as the population grows in vulnerable areas, such as low-lying coastal zones and eroding river banks," Lohani said in a separate statement. "Governments should not wait to act. By taking steps now, they can reduce vulnerability, strengthen resiliency, and use migration as an adaptation tool rather than let it become an act of desperation." The report, titled Addressing Climate Change and Migration in Asia and the Pacific, said governments in disaster-prone Asia-Pacific countries must enact a range of measures to stave off future crises. Among other things, it recommended greater investment in urban infrastructure and basic services to accommodate the anticipated increase in migrant flows to the region's megacities. "By taking actions today, governments can reduce the likelihood of future humanitarian crises and maximise the possibilities that people can remain in their communities or -- should deteriorating environmental conditions make that impractical -- that they have the real option to relocate to a more secure place with livelihood options," it said. The ADB says the Asia-Pacific region needs to spend about $40 billion a year through 2050 to "climate proof" against the impact of global warming.
- Terra Daily.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Giant Sinkhole Opens Up on Major Saskatoon Road - Ongoing Land Subsidence in Canada!

A sinkhole large enough to drive a car into opened up on a major Saskatchewan road causing traffic chaos.

The three-metre wide chunk of road opened up on Idylwyld Drive north of 39th Street just before 9 a.m. Monday forcing thousands of motorists to take several detours. It was caused by a break in a 20-centimetre pipe under the road causing water to swirl beneath the asphalt and led to the sinkhole.  "They are totally unpredictable," said public works manager Pat Hyde to the Saskatoon Star Phoenix. "This could have been happening for days or weeks."  The city received no reports of vehicles falling into the hole, but one commenter on Yahoo! Canada News joked, "I lost my car in there. It's on top of the Jeep, and under the BMW."  Holes are created because freezing and thawing cycles put pressure along underground pipes causing them to become weak and break. Snow melts forcing moisture into the cracks of roads and when it freezes it expands and makes the small cracks into bigger holes. The warmer winter across much of Canada is resulting in potholes being spotted earlier than normal.

Saskatoon isn't the place in Canada to have a huge sinkhole. In November, a 30-metre long one opened up in the Toronto area on Bayview Ave. north of Steeles Ave. closing the street for a week. In September, a 10-metre long hole opened up near Woodbine and Steeles avenues also in the Toronto area closing part of the road for some time. And in Vancouver, a sinkhole swallowed a 14-metre long chuck of SE Marine Drive. "The road just let go," said Murray Wightman, manager of street operation for Vancouver to CBC. The two Toronto sinkholes were caused by water main breaks and the Vancouver one is believed to be a result of the same thing.  But on a worldwide scale, these Canadian sinkholes are relatively small. In 2010, a 60-metre deep crater opened up in Guatemala City after it was hit by a tropical storm that dumped a metre of rain and caused mudslides. The sinkhole gobbled several buildings and nearly an entire intersection. According to CNN, there were no reports of death related to the sinkhole, but the tropical storm claimed more than 175 lives. As for the Saskatoon sinkhole, city crews plan to have the hole temporarily repaired by Tuesday, but a permanent fix will not happen until the city receives its first shipment of asphalt for the year. Hyde said this will happen within the month. He told the Star Phoenix, "We'll just backfill and compact it, gravel the top of it and once we have asphalt we'll come back and make a permanent fix." - Yahoo.

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: Great Lakes Winter Ice Cover Has Decreased 71 Percent Since 1973!

The average amount of ice covering the Great Lakes declined 71 percent over the past 40 winters, with Lake Superior ice down 79 percent, according to a report published by the American Meteorological Society.

A satellite photo of Lake Superior and the region taken Friday afternoon shows little ice on the lake.
“There was a significant downward trend in ice coverage from 1973 to the present for all of the lakes,’’ states the study appearing in the society’s Journal of Climate. Researchers used Coast Guard reports and satellite photographs taken from 1973 to 2010 to determine the ice coverage of all the lakes, with Lake Ontario ice dropping 88 percent while ice in Lake St. Clair (between Lake Huron and Lake Erie) diminished just 37 percent. The findings don’t include the current winter, but 2011-12 will only speed up the decline. Only about 5 percent of the Great Lakes surface froze over this winter, the least since satellite photos first were taken from space. That compares to winters that saw as much as 94 percent ice coverage, such as in 1979. It’s also way down from the average winter of about 40 percent coverage.
The results won’t be a surprise to Northlanders who have gazed out all winter over open water on the western tip of Lake Superior, where almost no ice has formed. Even in protected Chequamegon Bay, which usually freezes enough for trucks to drive on, strong ice never formed this winter, forcing the Madeline Island ferry to operate all season. That’s only the second time that’s ever happened. The results echo other studies that show much higher surface water temperatures on Lake Superior in recent years and far fewer days of ice cover. The study’s lead researcher is Jia Wang, who works at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration lab in Ann Arbor, Mich. He told Chicago’s WBEZ-FM that diminished ice can speed up wintertime evaporation, reducing water levels. It also may lead to increased and earlier algae blooms, which can damage water quality, and may accelerate erosion by exposing more shoreline to waves. Wang said the decline in ice cover probably is due to several factors, including cyclical climate patterns like El Niño and La Niña (unusually high temperatures and unusually low temperatures, respectively, in the Pacific), changes in the Arctic Oscillation and broader climate change. - Duluth News Tribune.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Giant, Underestimated Earthquake Threat to North America - Enormous Fault off the Coast of the Pacific Northwest!

The enormous fault off 
the coast of the Pacific Northwest has been silent for three centuries. But after years of detective work, geologists have 
discovered that it can
 unleash mayhem on 
an epic scale.

The Northwest's largest earthquake zone,
just off the coast, which is called the
Cascadia Subduction Zone mirrors
the area where the quake rocked
Japan last March.
One year after Japan's devastating Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, scientists are still trying to figure out how the world's most organized and earthquake-ready nation could have been taken so much by surprise. They were hit by an earthquake roughly 
25 times more powerful than experts thought 
possible in that part of the country. How could the forecast have been so wrong? The short answer is they didn't look far enough back in geologic time to see that quakes and tsunamis just this big had indeed occurred there before. If they had prepared themselves for a much larger quake and wave, the outcome might have been entirely different. Exactly the same is true of the Cascadia subduction zone - an almost identical geologic threat off the west coast of North America. When it was first discovered, many scientists thought Cascadia's fault was incapable of generating giant earthquakes.

Now they know they were wrong. They just hadn't looked far enough into the past. The Cascadia subduction zone is a crack in the Earth's crust, roughly 60 miles offshore and running 800 miles from northern Vancouver 
Island to Northern California. This fault is part of the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, the impact zone where several 
massive tectonic plates collide. Here, a slab of the Pacific Ocean floor called the Juan de Fuca plate slides eastward and downward, "subducting" underneath the continental plate of North America.  When any two plates grind against each and get stuck, enormous stress builds up until the rocks fracture and the fault rips apart in a giant earthquake. Two other segments of the Ring of Fire ruptured this way - Chile in 1960 at magnitude 9.5, the largest quake ever recorded on Earth, and Alaska's horrible Good Friday earthquake of 1964, at 9.2 the strongest jolt ever to hit the continent of North America.  Cascadia, however, is classified as the quietest subduction zone in the world. Along the Cascadia segment, geologists could find no evidence of major quakes in "all of recorded history" - the 140 years since white settlers arrived in the Pacific Northwest and began keeping records. For reasons unknown, it appeared to be a special case. The system was thought to be aseismic - essentially quake free and harmless. By the 1970s several competing theories emerged to explain Cascadia's silence. One possibility was that the Juan de Fuca plate had shifted direction, spun slightly by movement of the two larger plates on either side of it. This would reduce the rate of eastward motion underneath North America and thus reduce the buildup of earthquake stress. Another possibility was that the angle of the down-going eastbound plate was too shallow to build up the kind of friction needed to cause major quakes.

But the third possibility was downright scary. In this interpretation, the silence along the fault was merely an ominous pause. It could be that these two great slabs of the Earth's crust were jammed against each other and had been for a very long time - locked together by friction for hundreds of years, far longer than "all of recorded history." If that were true, they would be building up the kind of stress and strain that only a monster earthquake could relieve. In the early 1980s, two Caltech geophysicists, Tom Heaton and Hiroo Kanamori, compared Cascadia to active quake-prone subduction zones along the coasts of Chile and Alaska and to the Nankai Trough off the coast of Japan. They found more similarities than differences. In fact, they found that the biggest megathrust events in these other zones were directly related to young, buoyant plates' being strongly coupled to the overlying landmass at shallow angles - which fit the description of Cascadia perfectly. Bottom line: If giant ruptures could happen there - in Chile, Alaska, or Japan - the same would probably happen here, in the Pacific Northwest. - Discover Magazine.

WORLD WAR III: Countdown to Armageddon - United States Issues Ultimatum to Iran; Russia Tasked With Telling Tehran It 'Has Last Chance' To Avoid War!

The Russian daily "Kommersant" reports that at a meeting at the UN on March 12, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told her Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov to inform Iran that it has one last chance to negotiate and avoid war.

The US has asked Moscow to warn Iran that it has one last chance to resolve the nuclear crisis peacefully or face an attack in the coming months, Russian diplomatic sources told the Kommersant daily. The Russian newspaper quoted one diplomat as saying that the threat was voiced by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a meeting with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in New York on Monday. "The invasion will happen before year’s end. The Israelis are de facto blackmailing (President Barack) Obama. They’ve put him in this interesting position – either he supports the war or loses the support of the Jewish lobby," the Russian diplomat told the Russian newspaper. According to the source, Clinton said Iran has to make progress in the negotiations with the P5+1 group, which consists of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

The group is expected to negotiate on Iran’s controversial nuclear program with Iranian officials sometime in April. The negotiators demand clarifications from Iran over the potential militarization of its nuclear program. They also demand access for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to a suspected nuclear site in Parchin. When asked about the reported American ultimatum, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov criticized the "last chance" rhetoric. "Speaking in this way is unprofessional. There is no such thing as a last chance. It’s an issue of political will, and Russia does everything to foster such will rather than let it wane," he told Kommersant. The deputy FM said that the negative trend in the conflict is apparent, suggesting that "those tempted to use military force should restrain themselves and search for a diplomatic solution. A war will not solve any problems, but will create a million new ones," Ryabkov warned. The West believes Iran is trying to build a nuclear weapon under the guise of its civilian nuclear program. Tehran denies the allegation, insisting that all its nuclear activities are purely peaceful. Kommersant's report was posted on the Russian website RT. - YNET.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Geological Deformation at the Santorini Volcano in Greece - Showing Signs of Unrest; 3,600 years Ago, Santorini Was the Site of One of the Most Massive Eruptions in History!

The volcanic caldera on the picturesque tourist island of Santorini is showing signs of unrest. But researchers detecting the caldera's movement say it doesn't necessarily mean an eruption is imminent.

The Greek island was the site of one of the most massive volcanic eruptions in history 3,600 years ago. That eruption, which created tsunamis 40 feet (12 meters) tall, may have spawned the legend of the lost city of Atlantis. The volcano last erupted in 1950, albeit on a much smaller scale. Global positioning system (GPS) sensors placed on the caldera have detected renewed movement after decades of peace. The earth around the caldera (a depression at the top of a volcano) is deforming, or expanding outward, researchers report in an upcoming article in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. GPS instruments on the northern part of Santorini have moved between 1.9 and 3.5 inches (5 to 9 centimeters) since January 2011, said study researcher Andrew Newman, a geophysicist at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. "What we're seeing now is the first significant deformation and the first deformation that has any significant earthquake activity associated with it," Newman told LiveScience.   In the same time period, the magma chamber under Santorini has swollen by almost 500 million cubic feet (14 million cubic meters).

Newman and his colleagues say it's unlikely that the deforming caldera portends an eruption. Excavations of extinct volcanoes suggest that 90 percent of the time, belowground magma movements don't end in eruption. A similar caldera system, the Long Valley Caldera in California, started deforming in 1980, Newman said. It then quieted again until 1989, repeating the cycle in 1997 and 2002, with nary an eruption. If a Santorini eruption did occur, Newman said, it would be nothing like the Minoan eruption of 1650 B.C. that birthed the myth of Atlantis. That eruption was a once-in-100,000-year event, and the expansion of the magma chamber happening now is only 1 percent of what would have gone on prior to the ancient blast. Geophysicists are keeping an eye on the caldera, however. An eruption could generate local tsunamis within the Santorini archipelago, Newman said, damaging ports and disrupting ship traffic. Even if the volcano doesn't erupt, the shifting caldera could increase earthquake risk, and the island cliffs are vulnerable.  "We don't need an eruption to have earthquake-induced landslides," Newman said. There's no telling how long the deformation will continue, but it could stretch years or decades, perhaps cycling between activity and peace, Newman said. While no reason to be alarmed, the restless caldera is important for scientific study, he added. "It is one of very few of these really large caldera volcanoes," he said. "So any information we gather from ongoing activity adds significantly to our database of how these systems evolve." - MSNBC.

GEOLOGICAL UPHEAVAL: Architects Fear the Taj Mahal is Slowly Sinking - The Supportive Yamuna River is Drying Up!

The Taj Mahal, built to stand as an eternal symbol of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan's love for his wife Mumtaz Mahal, could slowly be sinking according to architects.

The building's foundations require a steady stream of moisture from the Yamuna River to retain its strength - but the river is slowly drying up. - BBC.
WATCH: Mehvish Hussain of the BBC reports.

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Tracking the Soufrière Hills Volcano in Montserrat - Small Pyroclastic Flows Coming From the Dome With no Warning!

A small pyroclastic flow occurred from Montserrat's Soufrière Hills volcano on 9 March, MVO reports.

The flow was small, but happened with no warning at around 5:20 pm (local time) from the western flanks of Soufriere Hills Volcano down into Spring Ghaut.

The pyroclastic flow traveled about 1 km to the west towards Plymouth before its ash dissipated to form a small ash cloud rising 1.3 km and drifting towards St. Georges Hill and out to sea. MVO has published further details and photographs of this event which is significant as it occurred during a quiet phase of the volcano with no current active lava dome growth and illustrates the hazard of sudden pyroclastic flows.

"There were no precursors to this event. Although activity has generally been low, this event clearly illustrates that Soufrière Hills Volcano is still an active volcano and that pyroclastic flows can occur at any time with little to no warning." - Volcano Discovery.

PLANETARY TREMORS: Powerful Magnitude 6.8 Earthquake Strikes off the Northeastern Coast of Japan - Small Tsunamic Warning Issued! UPDATE: Australian Bureau of Meteorology Measures Tremor as 7.4 Magnitude - Seismic Swarm Bombards Honshu!

A strong earthquake shook northern Japan on Wednesday evening, and a small tsunami was forecast for part of its Pacific coast.

A magnitude 6.8 earthquake has struck off the northeastern coast of Japan. The national meteorological agency has issued a tsunami advisory. The quake happened at a depth of some 10 km. Kyodo news agency says the earthquake has reportedly left Japan’s nuclear facilities unscathed. The tsunami warning is meant for the coastal Aomori and Iwate prefectures as well as central and eastern Hokkaido coast.

The estimate put the height of the tsunami at about half a meter. So far, two waves measuring 20 and 10 cm respectively reached the Japanese coast, according to NHK TV channel. The authorities advised residents of the coastal areas to evacuate to higher ground. Wednesday’s tremor came just days after Japan marked the anniversary of the March 11, 2011 disaster. At the time, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake, the strongest seismic event to ever hit the country, triggered a massive tsunami. The disaster killed almost 15,900 people in Japan and badly damaged the Fukushima nuclear power plant, causing the world’s worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. - RT.
WATCH: 6.8 Earthquake strikes Japan.

UPDATE: Australia Measures Tremor as 7.4 Magnitude - Seismic Swarm Bombards Honshu!

According to several reports, seismologists in Australia, recorded and registered the Japan quake as a 7.4 magnitude.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the tremor was of magnitude 6.8 and forecast a tsunami of about a half-metre for Hokkaido island's central and eastern Pacific coast, and for Aomori and Iwate prefectures. [However,] the Australian Bureau of Meteorology ... measured the undersea earthquake at 7.4 magnitude and said it occurred near the east coast of Honshu at 8.08pm (AEDT). - Adelaide Now.
The European-Mediterranean Seismological Centre (EMSC) measured it as a 6.9 magnitude.

Based on the earthquake maps of several monitoring agencies, a seismic swarm seems to be developing in Honshu, with several 5.0 and over temblors rattling the region, following the initial large quake.

CELESTIAL CONVERGENCE: Comet SWAN - One of the Brightest Kreutz-Group Comets Dives Into Radiation Storm on the Sun!

For the second time in several weeks, a sun-diving comet has been observed as it enters into the sun's atmosphere, thanks to new data from a NASA satellite.

BRIGHT COMET DIVES INTO RADIATION STORM: A bright comet is diving into the sun. It was discovered just last week by SOHO's SWAN instrument, so it has been named "Comet SWAN." The comet's death plunge ( or "swan dive") comes just as the sun has unleashed a strong flare and radiation storm around Earth. SOHO images of the comet are confused to some degree by energetic protons striking the camera. Nevertheless, you can see Comet SWAN moving through the electronic "snow". Couldn't find it? Here's a finder chart.
This is a Kreutz sungrazer, a fragment of the same ancient comet that produced sungrazing Comet Lovejoy in December 2011. According to comet expert Karl Battams of the Naval Research Lab in Washington DC, "Comet SWAN is one of the brightest Kreutz-group comets ever observed by SOHO, although not quite as bright as Comet Lovejoy." Battams forecasts a peak magnitude of -1 for Comet SWAN, while Lovejoy was three magnitudes brighter at -4. Will Comet SWAN survive its plunge through the sun's atmosphere as Comet Lovejoy did? Probably not, but experts also said Comet Lovejoy would not survive, and they were happily wrong. Comet's SWAN's closest approach to the sun will likely come on March 14th.  - Space Weather.
WATCH: Comet Swan's plunge towards the sun.